This weekend Beeble and I will be attending a Catholic retreat known as Engagement Encounter weekend. I am the Catholic in this situation, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle these types of somewhat awkward moments in our relationship. We both believe what we believe when it comes to religion and now it’s all about finding the balance even when you’re in what seems like a one sided situation. They never are truly one sided of course.
EE weekend is known as Engagement Encounter weekend, and it’s a weekend spent focusing on your relationship and impending marriage. It gives you time to grow and understand each other and how you look toward beginning your life together. I feel that it never hurts to really sit down and focus on yourselves and the relationship when you’re entering into a covenant that is for life. Of course divorce rates are sky high right now, but I don’t think anyone goes into their marriage planning for that to happen. You go into your marriage planning for it to last a lifetime, and I can only hope that one couple at a time the divorce rates start to change. The truth is though that we should all take time to really consider and be thoughtful of our relationships throughout.
Now religious situations can be tricky if you don’t both practice the same religion. It doesn’t have to be though. It is important to know where each of you stand on the ideas of religion and of course how you plan to practice going forward. I for one intend to go to mass on Sundays, but I know that sometimes I fail at this. I have tried to be better and better about it after falling off the wagon a bit, because my religion is important to me. I chose it at the age of 16, and I like it. So in my house there have been multiple conversations about things like what we believe, how we plan to share religion with the potential children, and how to handle situations that are not always going to be equal.
For this weekend, we have decided to power through regardless of anything, because we know that this is important to me. I want our marriage recognized by the Church and this is an important step in that direction. There are so many steps to complete, but we have worked diligently toward them and are almost at the finish line. That’s why this weekend is so important. We have to both realize that we don’t always believe what the religious figures in our lives say to us as we are not being lead blindly. There is equal opportunity on both sides for something to be said that is offensive to the other, and it is something that we have addressed before.
The best thing to do in any situation where you think there might be discomfort is to always be clear with your partner about how you feel versus what anyone else might think. Always be clear with the people you are around about what your intentions are in regards to religion going forward. Sure, I’m going to sign a sheet of paper that says I will do my best to raise the children as Catholic but it is worded that way on purpose. We have discussed it between ourselves and with the priest. Our intentions are known to all, and that makes it easier to move forward. It makes it easier to attend a religious retreat. It makes it easier to realize that we are firm in our intentions and we are not letting others pull us away from our love for each other and into a debate about who is right or wrong. The answer is that no one is either.
Be delicate and polite, but be firm. Always stand up for your loved one if someone is being in appropriate. Always love each other.
I believe that if you do those things then you will be able to move forward in your relationship without fear of going to Friday fish fries or Engagement Encounter retreats. Most people won’t be inappropriate anyway.